Tag Archives: corporate blogging

“Finding Balance: Developing Your Company’s Social Media Policy”

\Back in the early 1990’s, email over took the phone as primary business communication tool. As more of their employees used email in their personal lives, companies struggled to figure out how best to integrate its use in the workplace, while still managing company interests.

Today, corporations are faced with an onslaught of new communication technologies, making it even harder to adjust. Their biggest fear: proprietary information getting unwittingly leaked by an employee on their blog or through Twitter.

My article in today’s Media Bullseye discusses what companies like Sun Microsystems and Dell are doing to ensure employees know how best to utilize these new technologies. Also, I ask experts for best practices when developing a social media policy for your company.

In the piece, Joel Postman (check out Joel on 3Q’s in 3 Min), Principle at Socialized, gives 3 tips for developing an effective internal social media policy. You’ll have to go to the article to see those, but since we are all about transparency here at socialTNT, I wanted our readers to get the inside scoop. Below, I’ve posted some excerpts of my email exchange with Joel that weren’t included in the article.

What steps has your company taken to develop its social media policies? Share your tips in the comments. Oh, and check out this great article from 1998 in the New York Times on the evolution of Email Etiquette.

Excerpts From Email Exchange with Joel Postman on June 26th, 2008:

  • Were you at Sun when they developed their social media/blogger policy? I was not. I did write the social media policy for Eastwick Communications. This document served as the basis for several client social media policies.
  • How would you best describe Eastwick’s social media policy for employees? Eastwick’s social media policy applies to all employees, whether they blog or not, and covers all use of social media and social networks at work and away from the office. It is an extension of the agency’s standards of business conduct and reminds people that they represent the agency in everything they do, and should always act in good faith on behalf of the agency and its clients. Employees are entitled to have a private life, and private use of social media, but when they are talking about anything that might relate to the agency’s business, or when it is clear they are affiliated with the agency, this should be considered when blogging, posting comments, using social networks, etc.
  • If so, who wrote it? Did employees give input into the process? Several employees as well as senior executive management gave input, as did the agency’s lawyers.
  • Before posting your own post or responding to another post, was there an approval an approval process? None of the social media policies or agreements I have developed included a mandatory approval process for blog posts or comments. The very first draft of Eastwick’s social media agreement came back from the lawyers with a clause requiring executive approval of all blog posts, and the executive team immediately agreed to delete this clause. I advise clients against any formal review or approval process. The keys to ensuring appropriate blog posts and compliance with company rules and legal requirements are training, a clear blogging strategy, and a solid social media agreement that informs people of their responsibilities.
  • Did Sun do any “best practices” type training? When I was at HP, we had blogger training for executives. I did not manage this, the web team did. I am currently working on executive blogger training for a publicly held company. The focus of this training will be social media etiquette, legal compliance, and the company’s blogging strategy.

Also, don’t miss out: Got RSS? [what’s that?]. Or, start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox!

[The above photo, “Getting Dublin Moving” by The Labour Party used under Creative Commons]


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Filed under Future of Media, Internal Public Relations, New Media, Social Media

“3Q’s in 3Min: Joel Postman, Socialized”

A little late–technical difficulties–but still equally full of content, it’s last Thursday’s “3Q’s in 3Min.”

Every Thursday, socialTNT channels the spirit of citizen journalism by putting bloggers, reporters, PR pro’s or anyone with something to say about social media in front of the camera for a short, three minute interview. The videos are meant to encourage dialog between PR/communications practitioners, journalists and marketers on the future of media.

On a particularly sunny afternoon last week, we met with Joel Postman, Principle at Socialized. In today’s “3Q’s in 3Min,” Joel talks about obstacles publicly traded companies meet when trying to launch a social media campaign and how to defeat them.

When I first met Joel at a Social Media Club event last fall, we discussed the valuable possibilities social media presents for internal communications within large companies. As Director of Executive and Internal Communications at Hewlett Packard, Joel was exposed to the special problems large corporations encounter trying to maintain relations between employees and management.

This week Joel and I chatted about external communications. Being a publicly traded company, you are beholden to your share holders. You’re also closely monitored by the SEC. That means all outward-facing information has to be passed to legal teams for approval.

Such stringent controls might hinder or deter corporations looking to launch a social media campaign. It shouldn’t. It might be a delicate balance to strike, but corporations don’t have to compromise conservatism to engage with their customers, let go of their brand and institute social media campaigns. Key element: educating your employees about what they can and can’t speak about.

Fun Facts about Joel

  • Launched Socialized in January 2008
  • Spent four years as Senior Speechwriter for Sun’s Chairman, Scott McNeally
  • Working on a book to be published in November, SocialCorp, to help corporations walk the delicate line
  • We’re both fans of legendary SF house music DJ and producer, Mark Farina

Watch as Joel offers his top tips to corporate spokespeople trying to get involved in social media and helps corporations figure out what they can’t talk about!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

How does social media strategy differ for a publicly traded company? Do you work with or in a corporation? What are some of the challenges you or you’re clients have experienced? How did you overcome them? Let us know in the comments!

No time to watch the video at work? Get “3Q’s in 3Min” free from iTunes and watch it on the go!

Also, don’t miss out: Got RSS? [what’s that?]. Or, start your morning with socialTNT in your InBox!

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Filed under 3sdays 3qs In 3 Min, Citizen Reporter, corporate communications, Internal Public Relations, Marketing, New Media, Public Relations 2.0, Social Media, Video Interview

“Brand of Brothers: A Social Media Chorus”

“No. 59″ by racatumba on flickrOver the last couple of days, many people are asking the question: Can brands be social? The vision of social media relations, to me, sees consumers interacting and conversing with a brand. So the question becomes, what is a brand?

Way back in the day, a brand was a symbol burnt into the hide of an animal to symbolize ownership. Modern day branding burns a stream of messages into consumers’ minds to reinforce the image or idea a company wants. A brand can also be identified by its logo or trademark, but traditionally a brand symbolizes a promise or experience a company aligns with a product or service through consolidated messaging.

Over the last couple of years, the notion of “brand” itself has been changing. With social media, consumers now have the ability to publish and spread their own messages about a brand through forums, blogs, Facebook groups, etc. This can create a sort of schizophrenic branding: Corporate messaging vs Consumer perception/messaging–also known as “reality”–clashing for the loudest voice. As Dell proved, modern brands have to step up to the plate and accept, interact and engage with the consumer, or they come across as being abstract and aloof from reality.

But consumer voices aren’t the only ones vying to be heard in the modern brand. In many companies, you have employees who blog. The new media tools allow all the voices within the company to have a chance to be heard, unseating the talking-head spouting corporate values/messaging from the ivory tower. As the blogosphere grows, I think these voices will become more splintered, but still add to the discussion and image of the brand. For example: Not that I would consider Todd Defren the ivory tower, but his blog combined with my blog, the SHIFT employee blog Unspun and Marie Williams’ Flackette blog help shape the brand image at SHIFT Communications. People looking for our services can find these voices and get a sense of what we are about as a firm.

The Twitterverse will be progressing more like the blogosphere. Since Twitter requires less effort than blogging, pretty soon you will have several people from a company Tweeting. For example, there are several of us that use Twitter at SHIFT. We engage with each other and our followers in a series of small conversations. As more tools come into play to harness the power, people will be able to follow our team (a micro-community), creating another extension of SHIFT Communications’ brand.

Since the new brand, to me, is the conversation that the corporation, its employees and its consumers are having, the new, evolved brand will need to get social, embrace social media or get passed by.

What do you think the modern brand is? Which came first, social media or the splintered/schizophrenic brand?

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[Above photo, “No. 59” by racatumba on flickr, used under Creative Commons]


Filed under Future of Media, It's A Conversation, Marketing, New Media, Social Media, Social Networking

“RSS for Success: A Primer”

RSS icon logo

If you don’t have RSS on your corporate blog, you need to add it, ASAP. In fact, it’s been two and a half years since Robert Scoble said:

Sorry, if you do a marketing site and you don’t have an RSS feed today you should be fired.

I’ll say it again. You should be fired if you do a marketing site without an RSS feed.

Pretty harsh words. While I may not agree to the firing, I do agree with the sense of urgency. RSS, or “Really Simple Syndication,” is what I consider to be the most important must-have–after content–for any corporate or personal blog. Once you understand how the technology works and why it’s beneficial to PR and Marketing professionals, you’ll wonder how you survived without it.

It’s like a private wire service!

Simply put, RSS is a newsfeed. Think of it as a blog’s personal wire service. Every time you post new content on your blog, it gets pushed out to subscribers. Depending on the reader, internet browsers see either the headline or the full article. Here’s what it looks like using the active bookmarks in my Firefox browser:


On the left, you see all of the PR RSS feeds to which I’m subscribed. I simply mouse over them and the window expands. It’s like a menu of content. It’s a great time saver for your readers: They don’t have to leave what they are doing to see that there has been an update. One click glance let’s them know if there is something new and it let’s them choose how they want to receive the content.

For bloggers and marketers, an RSS feed is instant distribution of content–kinda like sending out your own newspaper or magazine, but digitally. It also helps build and track your audience by looking at the number of subscribers.

I like it cause it lets me scan a lot of information in a short amount of time.

Your ticket to the stars…

Ok, maybe not stars, but did I mention top tier bloggers and reporters scan feeds religiously? Marshall Kirkpatirck (formerly of TechCrunch, now with Read/Write Web) uses them as primary sources for breaking news:

I am subscribed to thousands of RSS feeds and currently have thousands of unread items in my feed reader[…]I have several folders that include feeds from the blogs of companies I wrote about at TechCrunch, news search feeds for those companies and other high priority topics. I refresh and check those folders frequently throughout the day[…]

The single most helpful tool for me in my efforts to blog about news events first has been an RSS to IM/SMS notification tool. I use Zaptxt to subscribe to very high priority feeds. It sends me an IM and SMS whenever a high-profile company blog is updated and in a number of other circumstances[…]A big part of taking a prominent position in the blogosphere is writing first on a topic. That’s a large part of what got me the job at TechCrunch and it’s something that an increasing number of people are clearly trying to do.

And he’s not alone. If you can get your news to a reporter and blogger through the means they use, what’s holding you back?!

If your blogging or pagemaking software doesn’t come with an RSS feed creator, try this walk through to set one up. Promote your RSS on your blog or web page by prominently displaying it using this logo: It has become the universal symbol for RSS.

In your email’s signature, add a link to your blog and its feed so clients, colleagues and reporters can easily subscribe.

Burn it down

To make it easier to increase your syndication opportunities, use Feedburner. Feedburner is chock full of tools like traffic tracking and free branded-email creation.

RSS is also a great way to track competitors and industry news. Whether it’s subscribing to the New York Times,GigaOM or a friend’s personal blog, RSS readers provide an easy way to find and access all sort of online content. For online readers, try Netvibes; Google Reader; iGoogle; My Yahoo!; or Newsgator.

For a complete list of all things RSS related, including web-based and offline readers, check out this great guide from Mashable.

Do you have any tips or tricks for RSS? I’d love to hear them

Oh yeah, don’t forget to subscribe to my feed by RSS or email!

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Filed under Enterprise Public Relations, How To, New Media